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Disabled vets' info, options will be presented


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POSTED: Monday, May 04, 2009

Information and options for disabled veterans will be highlighted at the 25th annual Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities today and tomorrow at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa Center for Disability Studies is hosting the event, featuring international, national and Hawaii speakers on the theme “;Working Toward a Brighter Future.”;

Among speakers will be Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi; Andrew J. Imparato, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities; Loretta Scott, authority on human rights, women's and diversity issues; and Lee Grossman, head of the Autism Society of America.

“;It is one of the top disability conferences in the world,”; said Chairwoman Charmaine Crockett; she said more than 1,200 people attended last year.

Several sessions today will address veterans' issues, from tele-technologies for rehabilitation at home to a workshop called “;Negotiating the System.”; “;Family Supports”; sessions will provide information about services, techniques and planning.

Registration is $295 for out-of-state participants, $245 for kamaaina and $170 for veterans.

An international film festival will be held this year, free to the public in the convention center's Lili'u Theater, with films on disabilities and veterans' issues, Crockett said.

The award-winning documentary “;Body of War,”; about a 25-year-old veteran paralyzed form the chest down after serving one week in Iraq, will be shown beginning at 7:30 tonight and continue the next day.

Special workshops are planned on a variety of topics, such as cultural-based education in Hawaii.

Experts from the University of Wisconsin's medical school will hold a seminar on fetal alcohol syndrome from 1 to 6 p.m. tomorrow. The fee to attend only that seminar is $70.

More than 200 session will be held during the conference on employment for people with disabilities, autism, deaf and hard of hearing, transition to adulthood, independent living, hidden disabilities, disability rights, veterans, gender-related issues regarding girls and women, indigenous and native issues, universal design for living, youth advocacy and future technologies.